Selectivitat Reading 1

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In recent years, organic farming has made its own impact on the farming community. Encouraged by the general public’s awareness of chemical use in the environment, growers are becoming more aware of the demand for organically farmed produce.

Laura Davis, a young organic farmer, grew up in London, far away from the small country village she later moved to. Although not from an agricultural background, she wanted to live off what the land provides. Joining Lawrence Watts on a 32-acre farm in Dorset provided her a perfect opportunity to become a farmer and be self-sufficient, which is what both of them had wanted for a long time. “It was perfect really,” she says. “We never considered using chemicals, so we were organic from the start almost without being aware of it. The land here had never been intensively farmed. It was all permanent pasture.” Later, when they decided they could start selling their own products, both Laura and Lawrence took part-time courses at the local agricultural college. “It was a general course, not specialised in organic farming,” Laura explains, “but we learned a lot of useful things that we can apply to our daily running of the farm. Since then we have learned that organic produce is increasingly in demand and we have become a viable business.”

“In fact, there is tremendous confusion about what ‘organic’ means. We describe organic produce as the products of a sustainable system of farming that is environmentally harmless. In other words, ‘organic’ describes the system of farming rather than the produce itself. All land has a certain amount of naturally occurring chemicals in it. It’s also possible that your produce can be marginally contaminated by, for instance, the farmer next door. So it is wrong to suggest that the product is completely free of chemical residue.”

Not everybody can label their products organic. The Soil Association is the body which approves land suitable for organic growing. Their inspectors issue a Soil Association symbol which can be used in the marketing of organic produce. To earn the symbol, the land has to be free of chemical use for at least two years – sometimes longer, depending on how it has been used previously. The organic farmer also has to demonstrate competence in organic farming. The Soil Association was in its infancy when Laura and Lawrence began, and they were among the first to be awarded the symbol.

When Laura and Lawrence first started operating commercially, their main challenge was the delivery of their products to their customers. The quantities and types of products they demanded could vary greatly from week to week. Because they were supplying individually they had to try to meet as many demands as possible. Providing that sort of variety and continuity all year round was not an easy task. In some cases, the problem was made worse because of droughts. Now they sell their products via a marketing cooperative, which is a group of 17 growers from various-size farms and many of the initial problems have disappeared.

From the Internet. Adapted

farming: (en aquest context) agricultura / (en este contexto) agricultura

grower: granger -a, horticultor -a / granjero -ra, horticultor -ra

produce: productes agrícoles / productos agrícolas

live off: viure de / vivir de

label: etiquetar

drought: sequera / sequía

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